"All things are wearisome, more than one can say." - Ecclesiastes 1:8

Friday, November 25, 2005

Sick teachers 'quit to take new posts'

This was a piece in the Scotsman about teachers taking early retirement, getting a big fat pension and then taking up new jobs, many of them 'teaching related' - whatever that means:

"MORE than a third of teachers who are allowed to retire early because of ill health take up new jobs, many of them teaching-related, new research has shown.

Academics at Glasgow University warned that teachers could be abusing the system as a way of getting out of the profession through the 'inappropriate use of ill health retirement.' They called on councils to investigate how the early retirement system operates."
The idea that academics at Glasgow University are in a position to make comments about anyone abusing any system is really very funny. If you read the rest of the article, you'll see that for one year (2002-3) this would have been less than sixty people - and given that the average survival rate for teachers post retirement is one year, it isn't anything as like a drain on the public purse as all these people who are paid to talk complete bollocks on in-service days and the like. (Please note that's an average dear readers - if I put my head in the oven and my feet in the fridge, on average I'll be perfectly comfortable. In other words, the people taking early retirement is balanced by the people who drop dead on the job, which two of my colleagues at my last school did.)

Still, it's not good really, is it? But the basic problem, as this research from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious points out, is that there isn't enough support for teachers before it gets to the stage where the job drives you completely insane:

"The report reveals that the most common cause of early retirement is mental disorder. It also says that the support available to teachers experiencing ill health is "inadequate and insufficient"."
Yes indeed - I'm a teapot. Something must be done. Why?

"There is an issue about the amount of support teachers get and whether employers are doing enough to keep them in the workforce, given the current teacher shortages."
Recruiting problem? Now why would that be? It's such a fulfilling job - everyone remembers a good teacher...

I've often thought we need to get away from this idea that teaching is a job for life. I've only been doing it for eight years, I'm already half-insane, half-alcoholic as a result - as no doubt this blog clearly demonstrates - and frankly I'm absolutely sick to death of it already. "Support" for teachers should consist in part of being a little bit more realistic: perhaps the Job Centre could open a wee branch in each school so that those of us who have had enough of this ridiculous profession can look for something more sensible to do for a living in our lunch-hour (sic).

Ah, but what about the shortage, you ask? I suggest a recruitment drive aimed at all those people who seriously imagine that most problems in the education system are attributable to the fact that no one has asked them how to run it. Perhaps Melanie Phillips could be persuaded to take a few classes on a part time basis. Or Chris Woodhead to show us how it's done - provided he can be persuaded not to shag any more pupils, that is. Or Peter Hitchens, as long as he promises not to hurt anyone (he'll have to be kept away from the scissor drawer, I reckon). From the other end of the spectrum, I'd dearly love to see a few social workers have a go: "Hi guys - I'm Sue. I'm not like your other teachers; I feel your pain. Is there anything I can do to ameliorate your oppression under this patriarchal capitalist regime?" Cue muffled cries of, "Yeah, geis a blowjob Sue", farting noises, flying objects and general mayhem.

The really annoying thing about teaching is that because everyone's been to school and then go on to send their little darlings there (he's so advanced for his age), everyone's a bleedin' expert on how you should do your job. I want one of those jobs where when you tell people what you do, they just say, "Oh" because they're absolutely clueless as to what that actually entails - like when people tell me they're a "system analyst" or a "project manager" or something. I say, "Oh, really?" when inwardly I'm thinking, what the hell does that mean?

So until such times as I've found a way of escape from this lunatic job, hear this, those of you who seriously imagine you know what it's all about: no you fucking don't so shut the fuck up because you're raising my blood-pressure and I'll end up going for early retirement before I hit forty.

Sorry about the language but that's the way it is, I'm afraid. You don't agree? Ah, fuck off!

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